How many ways can the government screw its citizens?
Let me count the ways.
Transparency in government? What a joke!
Yesterday we talked about the real power in government being in the hands of the bureaucrats. Today let’s talk about one agency, EPA, and a scam that has been used for decades to get regulations written without the nuisance of allowing the public to have any input. These backroom deals have escalated since the Obama “Most Transparent Ever” came to office in 2009. The scam is called Sue and Settle. It is a way for activist groups who want an agency to write certain regulations while avoiding the requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The APA was written in 1946 for the purpose of making regulations proposed by the various government agency completely transparent. The idea of the APA was that, for any proposed regulation, Congress, potentially affected interest groups, and the public would have a chance to have their input on the proposed regulation. This is a messy, costly, and lengthy process. So, radical environmental groups found a way to avoid this process.
What is Sue and Settle?
The Washington Examiner did back-to-back editorials on the subject of Sue and Settle. From the first editorial we learn how the Sue and Settle process works:
Here’s how the process works: First, the private environmental group sues the EPA in federal court seeking to force it to issue new regulations by a date certain. Then agency and group officials meet behind closed doors to hammer out a deal. Typically in the deal, the government agrees to do whatever the activists want. The last step occurs when the judge issues a consent decree that makes the deal the law of the land. No messy congressional hearings. No public comment period. No opportunity for anybody outside the privileged few to know how government regulatory policy is being shaped until it’s too late. _ (Emphasis added)
The article also tells us that, since
Mr. Transparency Mr. Obama came to office, the EPA has done 71 Sue and Settle deals with environmental groups like the WildEarth Guardians, the Natural Resource Defense Council, the Center for Biological Diversity, and the Environment Defense Fund. And, here is the kicker. In 65% of those Sue and Settle cases, the EPA decided to let you, the tax payers, pay for the legal costs of the environmental groups. How sweet is that?
In the second Examiner editorial, we learn the Congress is aware of this scam.
Last year, the House approved the Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act of 2012 that took vital first steps toward making sue and settle conform to the APA. The Senate, however, did nothing. As the chamber report explained, the act required that “before the agency and outside groups can file a proposed consent decree or settlement agreement with a court, the proposed consent decree or settlement has to be published in the Federal Register for 60 days to allow for public comment. Also, affected parties would be afforded an opportunity to intervene prior to the filing of the consent decree or settlement.” The act has been reintroduced in the House this year as H.R. 1493 and in the Senate as S. 714.
What are the chances of this passing the Senate? Right! If you are part of or know of a Tea Party group, get them on this or there will be no chance of stopping this despicable Sue and Settle process.
David Blackman at Forbes calls Sue and Settle a racket. After lauding the Washington Examiner for the good work they did on this subject, Mr. Blackman makes the case that some of these environmental groups; such as, the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) are less interested in protect “endangered species” than they are stopping human progress. (The CBD has sued the Department of Fish and Wildlife several times.) In his investigation, he found some very telling comments by Kieran Suckling, head of the Center for Biological Diversity from an interview he gave to High Country News. Mr. Suckling was asked if his organization’s hiring of activists who lack science degrees had hurt CBD’s effectiveness. Here is how he answered:
“No. It was a key to our success. I think the professionalization of the environmental movement has injured it greatly. These kids get degrees in environmental conservation and wildlife management and come looking for jobs in the environmental movement. They’ve bought into resource management values and multiple use by the time they graduate. I’m more interested in hiring philosophers, linguists and poets. The core talent of a successful environmental activist is not science and law. It’s campaigning instinct. That’s not only not taught in the universities, it’s discouraged.” _ (Emphasis added)
Mr. Blackman continues with this beauty:
Mr. Suckling’s contempt also runs to those who staff the agencies he assaults with CBD’s “sue and settle” tactics, as he brags about the “psychological warfare” CBD and the other anti-development groups wage on these bureaucracies:
“New injunctions, new species listings and new bad press take a terrible toll on agency morale. When we stop the same timber sale three or four times running, the timber planners want to tear their hair out. They feel like their careers are being mocked and destroyed — and they are. So they become much more willing to play by our rules and at least get something done. Psychological warfare is a very underappreciated aspect of environmental campaigning.”
Interesting, isn’t it? The bureaucrats in the EPA and all the environmental groups mentioned in this post consider themselves to be part of the so-called “progressive movement”. Yet, what they really want is to stop progress.
So, there you have it, my friends. Another sterling example of how our government works. Are you as proud of them as I am?
Well, that’s what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?